ReedPop and New York Comic Con brought the cast of ABC’s Boy Meets World together for a special watch party followed by a Q&A, with proceeds from ticket sales benefiting Donor’s Choice for teachers. The participants included Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence), Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), Trina McGee (Angela Moore), Matthew Lawrence (Jack Hunter), and William Daniels (Mr. Feeny).
While watching “And Then There Was Shawn,” a fifth season episode that broke format by parodying the horror film genre, the cast shared a few fun facts. For example, the opening credits for the season were pulled together from behind-the-scenes footage of the cast goofing off and they had no clue they would use it. Trina was also pregnant at the time and they hid her baby bump by putting her in baggy clothing. The episode features several South Park references because the writers were big fans.
“When I watch an episode, it brings back memories,” Danielle Fishel shared, stating that she hasn’t seen much of Boy Meets World since it originally aired. “I can remember the feel of the sweater I was wearing and the smells… It brings back strong memories of filming the episodes.”
Unlike Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong hasn’t seen most of the episodes. “For me it was pretty fun most of the time,” the actor who played Shawn shared about his experience on the show from a young age. Living in northern California, he recalled a period where he didn’t want to do it. “There was a little bit of adolescent angst that I totally regret, but what was really good about Boy Meets World is the writers listened to us and wrote to our strengths…. I just wasn't that into comedy, I was a pretty serious kid… So they were like, let’s give him some drama. At first, the trailer park thing is a joke and then it suddenly turned… And then the same thing with Will, they expanded his character and then made him the character that he became and that was just because they wanted to see Will do stuff.”
Will Fiedle considers himself to be a TV aficionado and sees the show as being something special. “The vast majority of the shows that are out there get worse the longer they’re on,” he explained. “Boy Meets World, I thought, was one of the few that, even though Eric was a crazy character, by the time it was all of us together at college, we had hit a whole other stride as an ensemble cast. And I thought the latter seasons that were all of us together at Pennbrook could go on as a completely different show…. I thought we were one of the few shows that lasted as long as we did that got better as we went on instead of getting worse.”
Trina McGee joined the show in its fifth season and was a little older than her cast mates. “There was a really good work ethic there and that’s what I really take away,” she shared about her experience on the show and Michael Jacobs’ infamous notes sessions, which could last for hours. “I do think about that notes session and how long it was and how meticulous it was and how effective it was… I liked being older and I liked seeing everyone come into being.”
Matthew Lawrence joined the series along with Trina and recalled his first notes session, where the show’s creator had over a hundred notes for him. “He made me stand in front of the class and take it in front of the class for two hours, that was my moment.” It was an experience all of the Cast Members shared, but most of their memories from the show seemed to be happy. “It’s more like I just have these flashes of moments with Will where we’d be standing like two duelers with pistols going at each other,” he shared about working with his frequent scene partner Will Friedel. “There was nothing but love, but we would try to mess each other up or make each other laugh. It was a constant upping the game every time.” When a new script would arrive at his door, the first thing Matthew Lawrence would do is flip through to find out what crazy thing Eric and Jack would be doing.
Rider Strong and Matthew Lawrence played half-brothers, but they didn’t get a lot of scenes together. That’s because the younger Cast Members were still in school, so the writers would separate the Eric and Jack scenes so that they could be filmed while Rider, Danielle, and Ben Savage were in class. “I like the college years,” Will Fiedel shared. “Because we were all together in that giant common area. Those were my favorite kind of scenes that we did because it was all of us together around a couch like Friends.”
One of the show’s most controversial moments came when Topanga was accepted to Yale. “At the time, I think I remember feeling like you have to go to Yale,” Danielle Fishel shared. “But at the end of the day, Topanga was always going to be successful no matter where she went to school… Because of who she is and the drive inside of her.” Fans got to see proof of that two decades later when Disney Channel gave it a reboot with Girl Meets World and Topanga was a lawyer in New York City who made partner at her firm. “It didn’t hold her back because of who she was and where she went.”
William Daniels, who played Mr. Feeny, was fairly quiet throughout the conversation, but when asked about his favorite moment, he had an easy answer. “Probably the last one, I rather liked it. I was alone in the class and I said to an empty classroom, ‘I love you all.’ And I found that rather touching and I was rather moved by it.” He also shared that he loved working with all of the kids on the show. “They were very good kids.”
“One of the most important messages, if you boil everything down, is that what happened when you were young matters,” Rider Strong shared. The series got to explore that theme over seven seasons, taking Cory, Shaun, and Topanga from middle school through college. “Our show was always about what happens when you’re a child matters and I still believe that personally.”
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.